Astrobiology 2 (Astrobiology)
2. Why is RNA the most likely candidate for a self-replicating molecule? What was the dilemma involved in this theory, and how was the problem solved?
3. How could complex organic molecules self-assemble in the 'organic soup' of the early Earth?
4. What are the advantages of confining organic molecules within a membrane, and why?
5. Describe the sequence of steps by which chemistry could have lead to biology
2. What factors influence the available photosynthetic and chemosynthetic sources of energy, and how?
3. Describe each of the three main reasons why water is so critical to supporting life compared to all other liquids
4. How do cells create such a wide variety of molecules from metabolic reactions?
2. Describe what caused Venus and Mars to lose their liquid water and habitability. Then, explain how the Earth maintains a stable temperature
3. Contrast the terrestrial and jovian planets, describing four differences between them. Then compare and contrast the the four jovian planets. How are they similar? How are they different?
4. Summarize the potential for Mars, Europa, Callisto/Ganymede, and Titan to have life
5. Research and summarize the potential habitability of Enceladus. Cite your source.
6. Summarize the arguments concerning how 'lucky' life in the Earth is, and explain the counterpoints to each argument
What living on Earth would be like without the moon
Rivers flowed on Mars until 1 billion years ago
Interactive tour of the solar system
Another good interactive tour
National Geographic solar system tour
2. How did the frost line contribute to the formation of the two types of planets?
3. Describe the process of planet formation
4. What do we think is responsible for creating the exceptions to our solar system's patterns, and why?
Simulation where you can test orbital stability of planets in a solar system
Here's a few websites that will be really useful for Part II and III of your final projects:
The Habitable Zone Gallery
Habitable Exoplanets Catalog
Open exoplanet catalog
List of Potentially Habitable Exoplanets
10 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life
Guide to the most habitable exoplanets
The Extrasolar Planet Encyclopedia
List of multiplanetary systems
The closest star to our sun has a planet in the habitable zone
2. Summarize the stages of the star-gas-star cycle
3. Describe three conditions that are necessary in order to have a galactic habitable zone
4. Which type of galaxy seems the most likely to have life in it, and why?
5. Research and summarize the connection between black holes and galaxy formation. Cite your sources.
Massive superbubbles photographed in distant galaxy
2. How are sunspots, solar flares, and the sunspot cycle related to the sun's magnetic fields?
3. Summarize the information that the H-R diagram tells us about stars. What factors influence a star's main sequence lifetime, and how?
4. Conduct some research on a star and describe its location, mass, type, color, surface temperature, radius, and main characteristics. Cite your source.
Interactive website where you can create different stars and test their orbital stability
Good website with data about the habitable zone distances and other info for each star type
Wikipedia list of star names- click on each to find its characteristics
Interactive H-R Diagram
Cool video on how the H-R Diagram is used
Good website on the structure of the Sun, with nice links to the other objects in the Solar System
See how a massive supernova made the elements of life
Take a 3D tour of a space cloud filled with baby stars
A comprehensive list of topics considered to be pseudoscience
2. Explain each of the three main reasons why we suspect life to be likely in the universe, using supporting evidence from the text
3. Which of the three possibilities of Fermi's Paradox do you think is the most likely, and why? Defend your answer with evidence from the text